A post Civil War drama about a Settler's family taming the West. A wonderful cast, and authentic locations, beautifully filmed!
I worked on The Wild Country as an electrician. The entire cast and crew was flown on a Boeing 737 non-stop from Burbank CA. We arrived about noon, and the elevation was high at Jackson Hole, but hot. It required a high speed landing and the plane went the full length of the runway and off the runway's end! EXCITING! Within 4 hours it rained, snowed with high winds, but by 5 PM it was clear! There was an airline strike while filming, and film as flown into Denver instead of Salt Lake City before going to L.A. for processing. It was unfamiliar territory for the plane crew, and several days of unexposed film were left on the runway. A plane ran over the film cans and exposed it, so we had to film it over...very expensive. During the summer, a garden was planted at the genuine 1800's log cabin (disassembled, and then reassembled at the movie location) and the vegetables looked beautiful. The fence around the garden was removed the night before filming the garden and the deer immediately ate the garden! Plastic radishes, carrots, etc. were flown in from L.A! I believe the Publicity Department (Ben Hartigan) said each vegetable cost $400! It was hot, and every fair haired person had sunburned lips. Two Dog (Frank DeKova supposedly had a wolf (real) and when we were filming his wolf, the wolf waded into the small pond near the cabin to cool off. The animal trainer waded in and got the wolf, and returned him to Two Dog. The camera rolled again, and again the wolf waded to the middle of the pond to cool down. (We were all hot). Again the animal wrangler waded into the pond so the wolf kept moving away from his trainer. The trainer ended up chasing him, and after an hour or so they were just dots on the horizon. It took the trainer 7 or 8 HOURS to chase the wolf to exhaustion and catch him, but he did...I don't remember if the wolf was used any more. Vera Miles attended church every Sunday (I think she was a Morman). 9 of the existing 21 Whooping Cranes were near where we were filming and about 10 AM every morning they got very noisy and took-off. It took them 100 yards or more the take off, first running and flapping their wings, then lifting their legs while their bodies stayed at the same elevation, and then slowly rising in flight...BEAUTIFUL! It interrupted our filming daily, but we were not allowed to disturb them in any way. It was said there were lots of fatalities of cranes because they ran into power lines and broke their necks. This was about as low as the whooping crane population ever got. They have since made somewhat of a recovery. Ron and Clint Howard were accompanied by their parents. Rance and his wife were among the NICEST people I have ever met...very quiet, but true friends. In Burbank they lived about 2 blocks from the Warner Brother's main gate. Rance had a study above his garage where he wrote. I urged him to give up writing (too unpredictable) and do something on production. I'm glad he didn't! He is a wonderful writer, and his son's have made great successes of themselves in show business. I continued working on movies and TV(started on My Fair Lady at Warner's in Crafts Service, worked on Mary Poppins etc. at Disney (yes, Walt knew many people by name and saw to it if you were in college, to provide employment so you could afford college). After Walt passed away, Disney changed dramatically, and became more like an uncaring factory. I got my degrees in Industrial Engineering and after 10 years at Lever Brothers, returned to the movie studios to do Crafts Service and Sound for 5 years on the A-Team (yes, I knew Mr. T and George Peppard),and the rest of the time in Crafts Service (2 years on Beverly Hills 90210, 7 years on NYPD Blue, 4 years on ER) (John Wells is a wonderful boss and a genius of a story teller), and am now working on a TV pilot, LAWMAN, as of November, 2009. Anyone wishing to get into movie and TV production may Email me for advice (I currently hold union cards in Crafts Service, Lighting, Sound, and SAG (Screen Actors Guild). The Wild Country was a wonderful experience and I hope your memories of the movie are as pleasant as mine were while working on it! David Collier firstname.lastname@example.org
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